Posted by Katrina Roets at 8:33 PM
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I've been there. I've stood on the edge of that abyss and even though that I know that there's no coming back from it, I've stared into the abyss and listened to the demons that whispered that the world would be better off without me, that my children would be well cared for and loved by their father and others, that those who love me most would be better off not having to deal with the ways my mood would swing. It is only by the grace of the gods that I've never taken that final step.
What I have done though is hide. I have hidden my passions, my desires and so much more because I have a disease. I've written about it here in my braver moments. There are times when I tell myself that my story could help others and just because I have this it doesn't mean I'm any less of a person than anyone else on this planet. Then, without fail, I hear someone make a comment like, "You just need a positive outlook." or something along the lines of suck it up, you can choose to be happy. That's when I go back into hiding. Sure, those things might be true for a person who is sad or unhappy but not for someone like me. I can't just suck it up. I have Bipolar 2.
For a long time, I didn't know what was wrong with me. I just knew that sometimes I was miserable and sometimes it was like I felt nothing..I was in a void. I would put a smile on my face and fake my way around people because I didn't want anyone to know that I wasn't like them. I always knew that I wasn't like everyone else. I just didn't know why.
It wasn't until someone who I loved accused me of not having any passions, of taking on those around me, that I realized that somewhere along the road, something had stolen my life from me. I was living more in survival mode than I was living in the world. It took losing someone I loved to realize just how far I was gone. Granted, he wasn't right about most of what he said..I had passions, I just wasn't living them, but it was my wake up call. It was then that I looked for help.
I don't know if Robin Williams was truly diagnosed with Bipolar, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had been. You'd be amazed at how many brilliant people suffer from this disorder. Perhaps it's the universes way of "making it up" to us. You can be absolutely brilliant, hysterically funny, but you have to suffer for it. Perhaps it's just an unlucky draw of the brain chemistry. I don't know, but I know that he was brilliant but that he struggled. His addiction issues have been spoken and written about. If you looked in his eyes, there was a sad, haunted look about them. He was a man that I feel knew great joy and great sorrow. He was a man that so many looked up to, but in the end, his demons won and the world has lost a great man.
It is because he is a great man that I hope people don't stop talking about this for a long time. I want attention to be drawn to mental health. I want people to become aware of the fact that depression and things that have depression as a symptom are diseases and not just a case of the blues. I want people to understand that just because we may have these things, it doesn't make us less human or that our feelings don't work. The problem is that they work overtime. Something that might make a "normal" person sad, might knock me down...and sometimes, when I'm knocked down, it's very hard to get back up again. It takes a lot of energy to live with depression, bipolar or any number of other mental illnesses. We are some of the strongest people you will ever meet because of this. The other side of that coin? Sometimes we will be some of the most fragile.
So, the next time you notice that I'm a little more down than usual, please don't tell me to pull myself out of it. Stop and give me a hug. I don't need your advice. I know that my brain is overreacting. If I choose to vent things out to you, realize that it means that I trust you because I still hide this side of myself. I've had my diagnosis for over a year now and I've still not told my children or my ex-husband. I've put it on Facebook and I've put it on here, but I don't tend to mention it otherwise because there is still such a huge stigma attached to it. I'm hoping that by slowly coming out of my own shell and writing about it, people will come to realize that I'm still the same me..I'm just showing you more of who I am.
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